September has felt like a battle to get my reading in, with me struggling to get even these four books finished, two of which were audio. Grinnell was basically the size of two books and at times a bit dry, which slowed me down; and also because I’ve been reading and class prepping some evenings, which has eliminated some “fun” reading time. Still no education books this month, and hoping to get back to that genre in October.
Check out what I’ve been reading and, as usual, comments and recommendations welcome!
Grinnell by John Taliaferro
At the end of August I traveled to Glacier National Park for a week long camping and hiking trip and explored 60 miles of trails, 10 lakes, and many glaciers across the park. The most famous and highly rated hike in the part is the Grinnell Glacier trail – a 10 mile round trip hike up to Grinnell Glacier, which was first “named” by George Bird Grinnell in the late 19th century during his travels out West. (I say “named” because what is now Glacier National Park was historically the land of the Blackfeet – Grinnell was only the first white man to hike those lands). Given the popularity and stunning beauty of the park I was excited to find this book in the Logan Pass gift shop during the trip to learn more about the park. Grinnell: Americas Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drives to Save the West is a beast of a biography expertly detailing Grinnell’s life through his letters and writings. A traditional sportsman, Grinnell was a progressive environmentalist in his era and had a large role to play in the establishment of Glacier National Park. Although a great book filled with rich historical detail about the American West, the book was very anti-climactic with my interest waning a quite a bit over the last 100 pages or so. It’s definitely worth a read if you have an interest in Glacier, the Blackfeet, or traditional sportsmanship of the era, but it’s a commitment to finish.
On All Fronts by Clarissa Ward
Although this book was published last year, I had come across the book on Twitter presumably because of its recent paperback publication. I love a good memoir and On All Fronts: The Education of a Journalist by Clarissa Ward did not disappoint in the slightest. Ward, an award-winning foreign correspondent for CNN, tells the incredible stories of her time working in Afghanistan, China, Japan, Syria, and Lebanon over the last 17 years as she worked her way up the journalism ranks. Aside from the details of contemporary foreign conflicts, her story is a great example of how one’s persistence can allow the climbing of the journalism ranks, from working overnights at the news desk all the way to the chief correspondent position working on some of prime-time news’ biggest news programs. I listened to this one on audio and would definitely recommend it. As a person who is regularly on television, she has a great performance voice.
The Gardener and the Carpenter by Alison Gopnik
I first read The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children back in 2019 as I prepared to teach my first course on child development. This year I am again reading the book as core material being used in my Infancy and Child Development course at Utah Valley University. The book is superb and remains one the best popular book on development I have read. (Development is a crazy under-published space in academic presses!). Gopnik expertly argues against the concept of “parenting” and instead focuses on how the relationships between parents and children evolved in humans and convincingly shows how caring and loving children is more important than parenting in a specific way. Contrary to naïve behavioral genetics interpretations, parents absolutely matter – just differently than you think. (And before someone comes at me with “BuT tHe ReSeArCh ShOwS nO sHaReD eNvIrOnMeNtAl EfFeCtS” I will again state that parenting is not synonymous with shared environment. Thank you for coming to my TED talk). Her thesis is elegant and highly supported by the data: we should not strive to create and shape children into a particular type of person, but rather we must strive to create environments and relationships that let children flourish into who they will become. A highly recommended book for anyone interested in evolutionary perspectives of the environment.
The Anti-Social Network by Ben Mezrich
Like most who are not on Reddit or aren’t into “stonks”, I heard about the GameStop short squeeze only once it was too late to make enough cash to quit my job and read books all day (sigh). I picked up The Antisocial Network: The GameStop Short Squeeze and the Ragtag Group of Amateur Traders That Brought Wall Street to Its Knees in the hopes of learning a bit more about the Reddit movement to undermine Wall Street primarily because I think Reddit is the most interesting place on the internet, despite my lack of participation on the platform. (Absolutely read We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory by Christine-Lagorio-Chafkin if you want to know Reddit’s incredible story and read one of my favorite books!) I generally enjoyed the content in The Anti-Social Network, but the writing style and approach weren’t my favorite. Mezrich identifies a handful of key characters and tells the story of GameStop through each of their perspectives, from the single mom RN to the Wall Street firm guy that lost all his cash on his short bet. Each chapter is focused on advancing each of their stories, while bouncing among the characters throughout. A very “literary” approach to a non-fiction book in my opinion, but I found it hard to follow at times. Overall, still a good read, but hoping for other books on this topic to hit shelves soon.
This post contains affiliate links, allowing me to earn a small commission when you purchase books from the link provided. There is no cost to you, and this will allow me to keep this newsletter free and open to all. Happy reading!